The problem with movies these days is that not enough of them feature King Kong punching Godzilla straight in the mouth. Some of them get close, like Pacific Rim, which featured a giant robot walloping a Godzilla-like beast in the face with an ocean liner. I appreciate that if only for the effort. It’s not the same, though. We do not need to bring robots and sea vessels into this. Let’s keep it simple: just one huge monkey punching one huge lizard right in the kisser. That’s why I was — still am, if we’re being honest — so excited about the trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong, the sequel to the 2017 film Kong: Skull Island, set to drop straight to HBO Max this March. It features King Kong punching Godzilla in the face. Hard, too. A real haymaker. Cinema has returned.
The trailer features a ton of other dope stuff, too. We are going to get way into it in a second, I promise. You won’t even believe how many people from your favorite television shows are in this thing. But first, if you haven’t seen it, or even if you’ve seen it 25 times, please take three minutes and enjoy the trailer right now. A decent argument can be made that this — just the trailer, not even the full film — will be the best movie of 2021.
God, what a perfect piece of art. How lucky all of us are to be alive to witness this. The sucker straight-up opens with a city in shambles and King Kong tranquilized and groaning on a boat. This is a good start, and it gets better immediately because danger is looming and Alexander Skarsgard and his Aviators are about to set this plot in motion with three simple words.
It’s fun to pretend this is his character’s solution to everything and this is the first time he was right. Like, the government is holding a meeting about water quality and he raises his hand and the mayor is all “Look, I’ll call on you but this better not be another suggestion about King Kong” and then Alexander Skarsgard gets all fidgety and mumbles “It couldn’t hurt” and the mayor just sighs deeply and moves on and Skarsgard slinks back into his seat mumbling about how maybe King Kong should be mayor.
Oh, hell yes. Not only do we have a cool vest scientist, we also have a little girl who is the only one Kong communicates with, and who Kong is sworn to protect. While this is troublesome because it means this little girl is 100 percent going to be in Godzilla-based danger by the end of the movie, it also rules so hard. I hope she’s sitting on Kong’s head in the final battle and controlling him from up there by yoinking on his fur like she’s Remy the Rat from Ratatouille.
Freakin’ blammo. After a bunch of shots of an ocean beast terrorizing the open seas with what appears to be an indestructible tail that missiles bonk off of like Q-Tips, the scaly demon launches itself out of the water and into the curious Kong’s jaw. But… what it is? Who is it? How could anyone possibly know besides reading the title of the movie or consuming any small cross-section of about 100 years of pop culture?
It’s a mystery. We may never fig-….
Imagine how powerful it must feel to deliver the “It’s Godzilla” line in a movie about King Kong and Godzilla engaging in hand-to-hand combat. God, it must be so thrilling. I bet Rebecca Hall leaped out of bed the day this scene was being filmed. I hope she got to do 50 takes of it with a slightly different reading on each one. I need to stress here that I am not being sarcastic at all. A movie like this always has a line like this and getting to deliver it is like earning a new badge in the Boy Scouts for an actor. I am legitimately happy for her.
“It’s Godzilla.” Just beautiful. I don’t see how this can get any b-…
I just shouted. I probably shouldn’t have shouted because I knew this was coming and wrote the whole intro about it, but I did and I do not regret it. Look at it. Look at how far Kong reared back for that punch. He telegraphed it from a mile away and stupid Godzilla still didn’t even get his stupid head out of the way. It’s so beautiful I could cry.
I don’t know why I love it so much. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it. Here we have a movie that cost nine figures to make and features more CGI than Star Wars and has the resources to do anything it wants, and what it wants to do is have King Kong coldcock Godzilla like they’re in the later rounds of a title fight in a Rocky movie. I don’t see how I can be expected to focus hard enough to finish writing this with that GIF just sitting right up there. I might have to cover my screen with a sticky note.
Oh really? These are dangerous times? How could you tell? Was it the massive hell-lizard bursting out of the deep to destroy half of a navy? Maybe the thing where our only hope at stopping it is releasing a different massive beast that only takes orders from one small child? I don’t know. Seems pretty under control to me.
Maybe if the lizard also shot lasers out of its mouth. Then I could see it.
Ahhhhh, okay. Fair enough.
Ladies and gentlemen, Kyle Chandler is in this movie. Coach Taylor himself. And, as I mentioned way back in the first couple paragraphs, he is one of many people from your favorite television shows in this movie. We also have Millie Bobbie Brown (Eleven from Stranger Things) and Brian Tyree Henry (Paperboy from Atlanta). It’s almost to the level of John Wick 3, which had Ian McShane (Al Swearingen from Deadwood) and Asia Kate Dillon (Taylor from Billions) and Jason Mantzoukas (from every good comedy) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn from Game of Thrones) and Lance Reddick (from The Wire and Bosch), which raises an important question: how the hell is Lance Reddick not playing an authority figure in the movie about Godzilla and King Kong whomping on each other?
Well, my friends, I have excellent news: Lance Reddick is in this movie. According to IMDb, he is playing a character named “Monarch Director,” which is almost perfect if it is the character’s title and full-on perfect if it is the character’s actual name. I’m going to pretend it’s the latter until I have real indisputable evidence to the contrary. Please do not ruin this for me.
This is very stupid but do it anyway, just for me. Next time you watch an action movie, think about two things:
- A 24-hour news network covering everything that happens live on-air
- The insurance adjuster who has to go out and investigate the damage after everything is over
The first one is fun but the second one might be even better, especially if you picture some guy trying to convince the insurance company that a bumped fender from six months earlier happened in the Godzilla fight.
ADJUSTOR: So Godzilla did this? You’re sure? He burned down 15 city blocks downtown but also made his way out to this neighborhood — 10 miles away — and did no damage to any property here or in-between other than cracking your fender on the left side?
GUY WHOSE NAME IS PROBABLY LIKE LARRY OR EARL: Uhhhh, yeah. And he stole the new 80-inch flat-screen I had in the backseat. Put that down, too.
Oh wow. Oh, my God. Not only does Rebecca Hall get to deliver the “It’s Godzilla” line, she also gets to deliver the “The myths are real” line that shoots us off into an explanation of exactly why Godzilla and King Kong hate each other so much. What a role. Again, not being sarcastic at all. This is Jeff Goldblum Territory here, people. This is a big deal. And I would take another paragraph or two to get into it all if I had time, which I do not, because it turns out their feud has been bubbling for centuries and that means I get to post a GIF of King Kong knocking a flying hellbeast out of the sky with a second flying hellbeast like he’s Jim Thome smashing a dinger or something.
I cannot possibly express to any of you in strong enough terms how badly I need this in my life. Things have been so weird for the past year or so. Everyone has been stuck inside and terrified because of a deadly global pandemic and we had a particularly ugly presidential election that featured an armed insurrection at the Capitol and, I’m sorry, but I think we deserve to see King Kong and Godzilla just wallop the hell of out each other for two hours while a crew of recognizable faces pops up every now and then to deliver the most obvious information possible.
We’ve earned this. Would it be cooler to see it on a huge IMAX screen in a theater, surrounded by a bunch of other lunatics who freed up a substantial chunk of a Saturday to see two monsters clobber each other? Yes, sure, of course. But will it also be nice to watch this on HBO Max in my living room on some boring Friday night with a pizza and a couple beers? Also yes, extremely. I want it now. I want it before now. I want to have seen it and I want to be getting ready to watch it a second time tonight. I want to have seen all or parts of it on basic cable on three dozen different rainy weekend afternoons, to the degree that when someone sees I have it on they’re like “Are you watching the Godzilla and King Kong movie again?”
Yes. Yes, I am. I mean…